Championing gender equality, while celebrating the achievements of South African women

10 Aug 2023

National Women’s Day in South Africa is a day of commemoration and a day to pay homage to women in all sectors and all strata of South African society. On this day – and throughout the month of August – Sabinet repeats its annual commitment to gender equality. This year Women’s Day and Women’s Month is also a time of celebration, as our women’s netball and football teams flourish on the world stage. We are so proud of you!

Women in LIS

In addition, Sabinet pays tribute to and honours the women of the library and information services sector, one of our key stakeholder groups. We acknowledge these librarians who are dedicated to lead and guide our precious libraries across the country, while meeting the needs of their users and the communities they serve. They contribute significantly to the enrichment of society and the development of informed and engaged citizens. This is leadership at its best. Thank you!

At Sabinet, more that 50% of the company’s leadership positions are currently filled by women. Managing Director Rosalind Hattingh says, “Statistics clearly demonstrate that societies and organisations with improved gender parity experience enhanced economic growth, a broader exchange of ideas, and a deeper understanding of ethics.

Here’s to the women who have shattered glass ceilings, broken barriers, and risen above challenges. On this Women’s Day 2023, we celebrate the resilience, strength, and brilliance of every woman who dares to dream and achieves the extraordinary. May we continue to champion gender equality, empowering women to conquer new heights and leave an indelible mark on the world.”

A historic month for SA’s sportswomen

The indomitable Banyana Banyana – led by formidable coach Desiree Ellis and stand-in captain Thembi Kgatlana – are the epitome of successful women leaders who thrive in a challenging environment. The African champions are the first South African side of either gender to reach the knockout stages of a FIFA World Cup. They have been described in the media as the ‘greatest South African football team in history’.

Our netball Proteas have put on their best performance yet at the Netball World Cup 2023, that was hosted in Cape Town. Led by dynamic duo coach Norma Plummer and captain Bongiwe Msomi the team displayed cohesion and determination. Delightfully, the pan-African host broadcasters SuperSport have assembled a first ever, all women crew of 250 to bring the event our screens.

The current successes on the sports fields are a testament to the remarkable resilience and dedication of South Africa’s world-class sportswomen, who tirelessly juggle full-time jobs, family responsibilities, and rigorous training to compete against the best opponents worldwide. Their achievements underscore the critical need for advancing gender equality in South Africa.

In the face of numerous challenges, these extraordinary athletes exemplify the strength of the human spirit, defying odds and breaking barriers to pursue their passion for sports. Their commitment to excellence is an inspiration not only to aspiring athletes but to broader society, demonstrating that with equal opportunities and support, women can excel in any field they choose.

A tribute to those helping us achieve gender parity

On Women’s Day 2023, we remind ourselves that gender equality is enshrined in the South African Constitution. Our country ranks in the top twenty on the issue of ministerial posts for women, and 46% of the seats in the present parliament are occupied by women. There is still much to be done, but a great deal has been accomplished.

We pay homage, not only to our 30.5 million wonderful South African women, but also applaud the lives of over 4 billion females who represent 51% of the human population of ‘mother’ earth. Women, and a large proportion of men, seek to speed up the emancipation of women, in South Africa and around the world, and National Women’s Day is a good time to take stock, and review how we got to where we are today.

We extend gratitude to the multitudes of women who contribute to the relentless pursuit of a better South Africa and world. Among these heroes are educators, artists and poets, who ignite inspiration; those women in leadership, who bolster the economy and champion ethical leadership; women in technology, who awaken aspirations in budding female programmers; and advocates for social justice, who reshape narratives surrounding survivors of domestic and gender-based violence.

Central to all endeavours in achieving gender parity is the LIS community. This community serves as the cornerstone, providing access to information and data that helps individuals, communities, governments, and organisations to come together and work tirelessly to break down the barriers that hinder progress towards gender equality. It is the library and information services sector that helps these heroes challenge discriminatory norms, advocate for policy changes, and create more opportunities for women and girls to thrive in all aspects of life by providing information and educational resources.

Libraries: A place to learn about women’s lives, experiences, and contributions

In a world where information is readily available, libraries remain steadfast in curating reliable resources and highlighting stories that may otherwise be overlooked. They play a crucial role in bridging the gender gap in education, encouraging future generations to aspire beyond traditional gender roles and embrace the limitless possibilities available to all.

Libraries serve as invaluable gateways to explore the rich tapestry of women’s lives, experiences, and contributions throughout history and across cultures. Within the vast collection of books, biographies, memoirs, and resources, one can discover the inspiring stories of women who defied societal norms, shattered glass ceilings, and left indelible marks on various fields.

Fighting the scourge of GBV

Finally, during this time of Women’s Month, it is essential that we also address a grave issue that plagues South African society: gender-based violence (GBV). As we come together to commemorate and honour the remarkable contributions of women, we must not forget the tear in our social fabric brought about by GBV. Let us stand in solidarity with the people of our country who tirelessly fight against this scourge every single day of the year, recognising that this is a daily battle that cannot be confined to the month of August.

Sabinet remains dedicated to furnishing the resources that empower this monumental undertaking, forging a future that reverberates with the echoes of gender equality and shared progress.

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(This article is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. For more information on the topic, please contact the author/s or the relevant provider.)
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